There’s a long tradition of families in professional wrestling. There’s Ric Flair and his daughter Charlotte, and there’s Stu Hart and his sons Bret and Owen. Fritz Von Erich famously gave birth to a gaggle of sons who would succeed, particularly in their home territory, before David and Kerry went on to national fame. There are sprawling families like the Anoai’is that include most well known Samoan wrestlers from The Rock to Yokozuna to Rikishi to Roman Reigns to Nia Jax. Talents like Randy Orton, too, have benefited from who his father was, both in terms of getting opportunities and getting a leg up in the wrestling world for the family name attached to him.
It makes sense enough that sons and daughters would follow in their parents’ footsteps. From a biological perspective, wrestlers tend to be bigger people, and so second generation stars may be predisposed to be larger themselves, not to mention a proclivity toward athleticism. Then there’s the Dusty Rhodes factor—his son, Dustin, has spoken about growing up with his father on the road, and not only missing him, but aspiring toward wrestling so that he might follow connect with his father on a deeper level, unique to the business.
For all of wrestling’s famous families, there are those that fly under the radar. While it’s become common knowledge now that Bray Wyatt is the son of Irwin R. Schyster, WWE hasn’t exactly advertised that fact given the degree to which the tax man character might undermine Wyatt’s supernatural gimmick. There plenty of other familial connections you might not have realized or, in particular, old wrestlers you might have no idea had children follow them into the business. This article looks at 15 wrestlers you forgot had kids in the business.
22 Scott Hall - Cody Hall
Scott Hall is a fascinating figure in wrestling for his obvious talents, size, and magnetic personality, paired with his personal demons of substance abuse and PTSD after killing a man in an altercation before his pro wrestling career really launched. Though he was never a world champion and rarely a true main eventer, he remains one of the best remembered and most influential stars of his era.
Hall’s son Cody opted to follow him into the business. By all accounts, he’s a big, athletic kid with many of the same gifts his father exhibited. Scott had a key role in training his son, who has since moved to Japan to hone his skills and make a name for himself. If Cody can keep his nose clean, you have to assume that his lineage and physical size will ultimately open the door for him to at least get a shot at NXT, if not the WWE main roster.
21 Henry O. Godwinn - Shane Canterbury
After a run as a heel outlaw in WCW, Henry O. Godwinn achieved his greatest fame in WWE, billed as hog farmer Henry O. Godwinn during the New Generation period. While he was never exactly knocking on the door of the main event, he did feud with guys like Triple H on their way up, and his tendency to slop people was a memorable gimmick. Godwinn hit his stride all the more so, reunited with Phineas I. Godwinn in a tag team that clicked especially well after they turned heel.
Godwinn has a son in the business, real name Shane Canterbury. Shane was signed by WWE and worked for their Florida Championship Wrestling promotion that was, in many ways, a precursor to NXT. From 2010 to 2011, he played a bodyguard to heel authority figures and worked mostly tag matches before getting his release. While his size and family pedigree got him a foot through the door, it seems he wasn’t—at least that point—ready for primetime based on his skills.
19 Chris Benoit - David Benoit
Chris Benoit has an awkward legacy in the professional wrestling business, to put it mildly. Particularly from an in ring perspective, few talents have ever matched his sensational skills. However, the way in which his life ended—murdering his wife and son before he hanging himself—makes it difficult to celebrate anything about his preceding accomplishments.
Benoit had another son, David, who was older. Against the odds and some conventional logic, David wanted to pursue a career in wrestling, too, and got trained in Calgary, with the last vestiges of the Hart family that were still training young prospects. According to Smith Hart’s Twitter, David made his in ring debut in 2014.
David’s still very young in the business, and whether he’ll have any sort of long term or mainstream success is yet to be seen. There’s a very natural sense in which most promoters, and most of all WWE, are reluctant to touch the guy because of who his father was and the baggage that carries. Still, there is something potentially heartwarming about the younger Benoit trying to make his own way, and maybe even redeem the family name to some degree.
18 Haku - Camacho
Haku had a very respectable career as a wrestler, demonstrating good longevity as a tag guy who continued on to become a rock solid upper mid carder. In WCW, he arguably got even better in his initial monster heel push as Meng, before settling back down into the mid card. Interestingly, he wound more notable with fans for his exploits outside the ring, cultivating a reputation as a real life badass and one of the toughest men in wrestling.
While WWE didn’t play off of the connection, Haku’s son actually made it to WWE, billed as Camacho, a heater for Hunico. He has, since gone one to greater success working for New Japan in a tag team with his real life brother as a part of the much celebrated Bullet Club stable.
16 Roddy Piper - Colt Toombs
Roddy Piper is an all time legend who falls on anyone’s short lists for all time great talkers in the wrestling business. Piper’s legacy is particularly bound to that of Hulk Hogan, as he was a key rival to help get Hogan over during his initial main event run in WWE, and a key face challenger to Hollywood Hogan and the New World Order in WCW over a decade later.
Piper’s son, Colt Toombs has aimed to follow in his father’s footsteps. He was a regular presence on Piper’s fledgling podcast, and the two talked about the wrestling business on the regular. Toombs made his pro wrestling debut in 2010, and has also dabbled in MMA fighting. The youngster hasn’t built a name for himself yet, but with Piper’s blood running through his veins, it’s difficult to count him out altogether.
15 The Assassin - Nick Patrick
Jody Hamilton had a 30 year career in wrestling, best remembered for his run as one of two masked Assassins for a bruising heel tag team that hopped territories. After his original partner retired, Hamilton would try on others, besides working occasional singles runs.
The Assassin became a familiar face to a new generation of fans as a manager and as lead trainer for WCW’s Power Plant facility. He would later go on to work as a trainer for WWE’s developmental system as well.
It’s a lesser known connection that The Assassin actually had a pretty famous son in the wrestling world as well. Nick Patrick started out as a wrestler, but would go on to much greater fame as a featured referee for WCW, whose work included flipping allegiances between WCW and the New World Order in key moments. Patrick would also go on to referee for WWE after the company acquired its competition.
14 Dos Caras - Alberto Del Rio
Dos Caras was a legend of lucha libre. As a masked man, he was less famous than his legit brother Mil Mascaras, but nonetheless built a rock solid career as a heavyweight who collected gold throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Dos Caras may not be the most familiar name to today’s fans, who are surely more familiar with his son, best known as Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio has not traded on the family name much in his US efforts, but did come of age as his father’s son, working under a mask and building up quite a resume for himself before he was ready for primetime in America. He went on to burn brightly in WWE before becoming engaged in all manner of controversies, and going on to be a top star on the indies and for companies like Lucha Underground and now Global Force Wrestling.
13 Bobby Eaton - Dillon Eaton
Though Bobby Eaton was never a main event player, his contemporaries bring up his name pretty unanimously as one of the in ring greats for his generation. Some of his best work came as part of the famed Midnight Express, though he’d go on for over a decade to follow, successfully working as a mid-carder and as a fine tag team partner to Arn Anderson and later William Regal in WCW.
Because he was never in the world title picture and never worked for WWE, Eaton tends to get overlooked now when WWE celebrates all time greats in the wrestling business. Maybe that’s why the family legacy hasn’t done much to help Bobby’s son Dillon make headway in the mainstream wrestling world. Just the same, Dylan has been an active wrestler for over a decade now, working independent promotions primarily in the south.
8 Paul Ellering - Rachael
While he wrestled himself, Paul Ellering is best remembered as the manager behind The Legion of Doom. The guy has demonstrated remarkable longevity, having returned just last year, over two decades past his most recent WWE tenure. Today, he manages The Authors of Pain, a heel big man tag team that has largely dominated in NXT.
Paul’s daughter Rachael followed him into the wrestling business. Still in her mid-20s, she was trained by Lance Storm. She got a shot in NXT but spent the entirety of her run as a jobber to stars WWE saw more upside in. Still, she’s young, got a shot at Mae Young Classic Tournament and has developed the name value to get regular work with smaller promotions as she continues to grow as a performer.
7 Mr. Perfect - Amy Hennig
Curt Hennig is widely celebrated as one of the all time great all around professional wrestlers to never get a world title opportunity in WWE or WCW (though he did get a reign atop the AWA). Still as a technician, a talker, and a deceptive powerhouse, he had all the tools, and had he reached his prime in an era when Hulk Hogan wasn’t so dominant, you have to assume he’d have gotten at least a brief reign on top.
OK, to be fair, most fans are well aware that Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig has a son in the business, Curtis Axel. What might surprise fans, however, is that he also has a daughter who has worked her way into the business. With her curly blond hair and athletic build, Amy Hennig is the spitting image of her father. She’s been active as a wrestler since 2008, but interestingly has not gotten a shot from WWE, perhaps arriving in the business at just the wrong time when the company was looking for models over athletes. At 35 years of age, she may never get that big break, but given how little headway her brother has made in WWE, maybe that’s just as well.
5 Ken Patera - Heather Patera
Ken Patera went to the Olympics as a weightlifter and went on to a good career in wrestling, working in a variety of small promotions, the AWA, and perhaps most notably WWE, where he was a challenger to Bruno Sammartino’s world championship. He wound up his mainstream career turning face for a run in the late 1980s.
Patera’s daughter Heather would work her way into the wrestling business in her own right. In shoot interviews, she was a vocal critic of WWE’s more homogenous approach to signing female talent, lauding her SHIMMER in particular for providing talent to a more diverse population of performers. Often working under the name Miss Natural, she has developed a fine enough career for herself working the US independent scene.
4 Dr. Karonte - Mistico
The name Dr. Karonte may not mean that much to American fans who haven’t followed the lucha libre product faithfully, but he was a star decades back in the Mexican wrestling world. Since then, his legacy has grown as he sent four sons into the wrestling world. Argenis has attained some fame as a part of Lucha Underground, but it’s another son who has eclipsed the rest of the family—Sin Cara.
WWE fans know Sin Cara as a luchador who got a big push upon first arriving in WWE, before largely fizzling after a confusing feud with his doppleganger. The doppleganger wound up replacing the original worker in the gimmick, as he left WWE over political differences regarding his style of work and his creative direction. Before coming to WWE, the man arguably reached his peak as Mistico—the brightest star in lucha libre.
3 Jacques Rougeau - Cedric Rougeau
Jacques Rougeau had a long career in professional wrestling, and particularly in WWE, and it’s a bit of a shame that he’s best remembered for his Mountie gimmick. It was a cartoonish and silly heel character that largely belied how good of a worker Rougeau was, and yet he committed to the bit and became something of a minor icon in his day, and even a short-term Intercontinental Champion. The Mountie gimmick gave way to him working as half of The Quebecers in the years to follow.
Jacques’s son, Cedric Rougeau has made some waves, in particular garnering Internet buzz for photos that capture his size at a reported 6’6” and 285 pounds of jacked up muscle. A variety of sources reported that the young man had a WWE tryout last year at the Performance Center, but he has not yet surfaced on the WWE landscape.
2 Smash - Dakota Darsow
Call him Crusher Kruschev. Call him Smash from Demolition. Call him The Blacktop Bully. And yes, if you’re so inclined, you can call him Repo Man.
Barry Darsow was a fixture in tag teams and mid-card wrestling throughout the 1980s and 1990s for WWE and WCW. He was a good enough worker and a big enough man that you can argue he should have wound up a bigger deal in kayfabe, but just the same he was a memorable enough figure with some longevity to him. His legacy continues today, in his son Dakota Darsow who had a WWE developmental deal for a time and his since worked a variety of smaller companies across the country, including appearances with TNA. He cracked one of wrestling’s most celebrated “who’s who” lists, by ranking number 340 in the 2010 edition of Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s PWI 500 feature.
1 Matt Hardy - Maxel Hardy
Matt Hardy is only 42 years old, and so it might seem surprising that he’d have a son in the wrestling business already. Moreover, this isn’t the case of son following father’s example (Matt started his career at the young age of eighteen), but rather something even more absurd.
Matt is back with WWE now after a tour of smaller companies, during which time he arrived at the wild gimmick of Broken Matt Hardy—an otherworldly, eccentric, and magical character. His strange shenanigans—particularly based in TNA—included booking his one-year-old son into a match with Rockstar Spud at the Hardy-themed Total Nonstop Deletion special. The match was a farce, of course, in which the child was at no real risk and ended up winning. As silly as it all was, this does, technically, make Matt the father of a second generation wrestler.